Mayor sees increased development as key to tax issues

Opinion column

by Murrel Bland

The message from Mayor David Alvey Friday, Nov. 20, was that the solution to Wyandotte County’s problems is to grow the property tax base, not to increase taxes.

Mayor Alvey spoke to about 80 members of the Congressional Forum Friday, Nov. 20, via Zoom. The forum is a committee of the Kansas City, Kansas, Chamber of Commerce.

The tax base continues to increase. Earlier this year it was slightly more than $1.447 billion. The plan is to expand the tax base so there is less dependence on the individual resident and small business. To borrow a phrase out of the cliche closet, “A rising tide raises all boats.”

Although Wyandotte County has made significant strides in attracting development, it falls short when compared with Johnson County. Johnson County’s valuation is more than $11.7 billion.

Mayor Alvey said Kansas City, Kansas, has reduced its mill levy and ranks 14th among Kansas cities. The mill rate in Kansas City, Kansas, has been cut from 44 to 38 mills.

Mayor Alvey praised the efforts of Greg Kindle, the president of the Wyandotte Economic Development Council, and Katherine Carttar, the director of economic development for the Unified Government, for their efforts in attracting new development. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Wyandotte County is on target to attract $1 billion of new and increased development this year.

Recent new attractions include the Menard’s store in Village West. Another Menard’s is planned at I-35 and 18th Street. The mayor also bragged about attracting the Urban Outfitters’ fulfillment center that will be on property on the southeast corner of 118th Street and State Avenue.

The mayor admitted that dealing with the coronavirus has been a serious challenge with furloughed employees at the Unified Government and curfew decisions that have made it difficult on certain small businesses such as restaurants and bars.

In a comment session, Joe Vaught, a commercial Realtor and a member of the Congressional Forum, said that a major drawback to development is the poor quality of schools in the Kansas City, Kansas, District.

Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and the Piper Press.

One thought on “Mayor sees increased development as key to tax issues”

  1. I fully agree. Kansas City, KS suffered a lot when manufacturing in Fairfax started re-locating and going to Johnson County in the late 1960s. Then, when Minnesota Avenue was messed up with a new design, we lost our downtown. Indian Springs seemed to be an anchor, but that decayed over the years. We lost our manufacturing jobs; we lost our retail jobs; we lost mom & pop businesses; and we got a black-eye because of rising crime.
    We need more business and warehouses to bring new jobs and spur our economy. We need new businesses to hire WyCo residents so the money feeds our tax base and our families. Each tract of unused or under-performing property needs to be revitalized for economic growth.

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